The word exercise evokes many different emotions. For those of us who don't do it, it's akin to cleaning out the garage or, even worse, having to write a term paper. Then there are those other people who live to put on their spandex and bounce around and sparkle and make the rest of us feel guilty.
Exercise is (very, very, very) good for you
We all know that exercise is good for us. Interestingly enough, often we don't realize how good. The benefits ofexercise are far reaching and include:
- general sense of well being;
- improved mood;
- increased strength, balance, and fitness level;
- improved cardio respiratory reserve.
The list does not end there. Current research indicates that strength training can improve your HDL (good cholesterol) and lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. For women in particular, strength training can help us maintain bone strength and minimize bone-density loss associated with aging. This is critical to maintaining our quality of life in our later years.
Why it's so tough
So why don't we exercise? I think there are two primary reasons why so many of us don't exercise. First, we often feel too busy in our fast-paced culture. Second, we often aren't intentional about determining what will motivate us to exercise. As women, we are often motivated by things like our outward appearance or that upcoming wedding or reunion and the dress we want to somehow fit into. Goals are important, but I'd like to suggest some deeper motivations: What do I want my life and my health to look like long-term? What can I enjoy about exercising? That's right, I said enjoy. Let's face it. If we don't figure out how to enjoy it, we aren't going to be able to sustain it. The beauty about deciding to get fit is there are so many options—it is possible to find one you can enjoy. You can start with very little in home equipment, such as a stability ball, a yoga mat, and an exercise band, or you can opt for a membership at the local gym. The key is to find what works best for you.